Poppy Pickle (Templar, paperback, £6.99)
Encouraging little ones to exercise and strengthen their imagination is, of course, a central strand of any Early Years practitioner’s work – and sharing this story with your charges would be a great way to get them excited about just what their minds might be capable of creating, given a chance. Poppy Pickle is a little girl with the ability to turn ordinary things extraordinary, just by thinking about them in a different way. The more dull something appears, the more exciting she can make it become – so when she’s sent upstairs with the tedious instruction to tidy her room, things soon get very thrilling indeed. Whatever she conjures up in her head becomes real; and before long, she’s sharing her bedroom with a whole host of fantastic creatures, from a tap dancing bunny rabbit to a cycling worm and a giant, talking hot dog. Introducing a crocodile and giant woolly mammoth, however, adds a level of complication she could do without – and this, perhaps, opens the opportunity for an interesting group discussion about whether it’s important to keep fantasy separate from reality and if so, what strategies might be useful for doing that.